Sunday, March 20, 2011

Second to None


My boy turns 18 today!

When Evan was in second grade, HOB and I went to his parent-teacher conference and sat in front of the teacher in those plastic small chairs, smiling at each other, our chests puffed out with pride as we heard her say, "Evan is doing much better in class these days."

Finally, our little genius was starting to show that academic prowess we knew was there.

Then she said, "He's not falling out if his chair nearly as much as he used to."

Smiles frozen, our heads tilted like stunned parrots, we sat, unsure of how to react to this news. (We later found out that it had been a challenge among the second grade boys to see who could balance on one leg of their chair.)

Before Evan was born, HOB and I had been planning our world tour to share our obviously superior parenting expertise.

Then along came child number two to put things into perspective.

We had read all the parenting books. We agreed we would not compare our sons and we didn't until, oh, maybe a minute after Evan was born. Whereas Sonny Boy had come out of the womb, whimpered a bit and then looked meekly up at us, this boy came out, fists up, screaming like a tiny, irate CEO. "Wow," said HOB. "Wow," I agreed.

When second children are born into our family constellations, they understand immediately they are not the first stars there , so they set about to make sure they shine in a way that is sure to be noticed. Our spark plug of a boy certainly did. Over the years, his six trips to the emergency room, (three for broken arms) and his fractured wrist and subsequent surgery have nearly derailed his protective father. His confidence in social situations stuns and sometimes embarrasses his older brother. He is a charming and deadly debater. More than once I have emerged from a roller coaster conversation with him, confused and shaky from the ride while he sits smiling and confident.

Thank goodness for these second children who join our families mid-trip. They throw into sharp relief our old ways of thinking and being, They can be irritating, challenging, fascinating, demanding.

Most likely, they are exactly what we need in our lives.

They take us by the hand and lead us over to the other side of the observation tower to get a different view of the terrain of life. I am thankful every day for what Evan has contributed to my life.

Yesterday we went to check out another college option for Evan and he made a decision that in the fall he will go to a college that is 10 hours away from us. He is officially leaving the nest in August. Today we celebrate this child who came into our lives eighteen years ago with dinner out, a cake, and some presents and the knowledge that this may be the last birthday he is home to celebrate with us for a long time.

However, no matter where he may go, his mama will always sing Happy Birthday to him and recognize what an absolute gift I was given all those years ago when this child was placed in my arms and in my heart.


He may leave my arms, but he'll never leave my heart.

Sorry for all the mush here, Evan, and Happy Birthday, son.

61 comments:

Ms. A said...

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EVAN!" I hope your mother deals with ENS better than I did.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Happy Birthday Evan! Your mum is certainly proud of you. Wish you all the best.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Happy Birthday .. all round .. a family celebration - 18 a year to remember .. enjoy .. fun and creative times ahead .. Hilary

slommler said...

Happy Birthday Evan!! Hope you have one fabulous celebration!!
Hugs
SueAnn

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Happy Birthday Evan, wishing you all the good luck in the world.

Yvonne.

Seams Inspired said...

♫♪♫ Happy Birthday to you!♪♫
♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♫♪
♪♪♪ Happy Birthday, dear Evan! ♫♪
♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♫♪♫♪♪


(sung in my best voice)

Wonderful post, Betty. Our 2nd boys are kindred. Here's wishing Evan the best birthday ever and you making it through this milestone birthday without becoming a puddle on the floor from all the nostalgia that's sure to pass through the windows of your mind. :o)

Bouncin' Barb said...

I miss my son. He's 29 and I moved away when he was 26 and he's so angry at me because I made a new lift for myself after his father died. He just can't past it. I hope he comes around soon. He's my only child. Cherish your kids!

Bouncin' Barb said...

I miss my son. He's 29 and I moved away when he was 26 and he's so angry at me because I made a new lift for myself after his father died. He just can't past it. I hope he comes around soon. He's my only child. Cherish your kids!

Mamma has spoken said...

Oh you just described my oldest and second son to a tee!
Happy birthday to Evan, don't forget to come home from college every once in awhile. If just to get your laundry done and to have a good home cooked meal. Your mom will love you for it!

Ann said...

Happy Birthday to Evan. I'm impressed, you actually got to have dinner with your son on his birthday. I think mine were around long enough to scope out the gift and then it was off to go hang with friends :)

Theresa Milstein said...

This story gave me chills. I love your posts for their humor and how they touch me. What a nice way to celebrate your son.

I'm holding a 500 followers contest. Please visit my blog if you get a chance.

Peggy K said...

Happy Birthday, Evan! Do you have any idea how often your mother brings tears to our eyes, celebrating her sons? Today was no exception!
And remember that being #2 does have some advantages!!

Gigi said...

Happy birthday, Evan! He sounds like a wonderful person to have in your life. I can only imagine how much you will miss him come August.

sherri said...

Happy, happy birthday Evan! What a handsome guy and a great picture of you two!

Tabor said...

Evan is very lucky to have been blessed by such wonderful parents.

Out on the prairie said...

Happy B day Evan! We had babies about the same times it seems. My youngest turns 19 on Thursday, and still my baby.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Awwww. Happy birthday.

Lin said...

My heart sunk at "10 hours away". Sigh. That is far. Too far. Too far from your baby. But they have to fly, don't they? Ugh.

I'm with ya on that second kid thing too. They just test ya at every turn.

Happy Birthday to Evan and to you, Betty. It's a very special day that you both share together. :)

Tillie and Georgia said...

Happy Birthday to your handsome boy!!!!
Thank you for your purrs for Mickey.
We really miss him and it will take
a while to get used to him bot being here.
Purrs Tillie and Georgia

Old Kitty said...

Awwwww HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EVAN!

18 years young!! Wow!!!! And what a handsome young lad he is BB!!! Wonderful!!!

I hope you all have a fantastic day today!! Take care
x

Hilary said...

Oh what a beautiful tribute to your boy. I know exactly of which you speak having my second son a challenging whirlwind when the first was a breeze. What a gift you are to one another. Happy Birthday to Evan.

Brian said...

Happy Birthday Evan!!! Don't have too much catnip!

Mary Ann said...

I laughed when you told about the parent teacher interview...all 2nd sons must be come from the same mold but some how you survive them and are better for it I think:)

jenny_o said...

Happy Birthday to your son, and remember, you'll always be his mother, no matter how far away he is.

Facing50Blog.com said...

Oh Bossy Betty you brought back so many memories of my son with this post. I almost got emotional. Children never leave your heart - how true.
Evan a very happy birthday to you and good luck with all your plans.
Betty if you need cheering up in August you know where to find me - us emptynesters understand the sorrow (and of course the pleasure) in finally watching them fly away:)

Ami said...

Aw gee Bossy, you made me sniffle.

Happy birthday to your son. My baby girl is about to turn 18.

Soooo not ready.

Brian Miller said...

happy birthday to your son! i am sure you have prepared him well for this day...and he will always come home...esp when the laundry needs done..lol

Desiree said...

What a beautiful tribute to your second born and also, to you as his parents! HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EVAN!!!

You write amazingly...it's going to be an absolute TREAT visiting your blog and getting to know you...until such time as you turn into the batty old cat woman...not sure I'll want to follow you, then! ;)

Thank you SO MUCH for becoming one of my most recent followers! I'm thrilled to have you hop on board! :)

Brian (not the cat) said...

Motion the second -- I read your laud and laud your read. I second the motion!

Nat said...

Happy birthday Evan!
It was lovely reading your mom's "mushy stuff" :-)

Susan in the Boonies said...

Ah, I loved this post, Betty. As a mother of a 17 year old son: I get it! I totally get it. He sounds like a terrific kid, and a huge blessing!
Happy Day of Giving Birth to you, and wishing Evan a happy day as well.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm a second son and we rock! And SheilaScribbles is celebrating her son's 18th birthday today as well.

Linda said...

What a lovely post, BB. I loved the insight shown in this comment: "They take us by the hand and lead us over to the other side of the observation tower to get a different view of the terrain of life."

My nephew has three boys, each one totally different from the others. Fortunately, God gave them the compliant child first or we might have missed out on the others. :)

Happy birthday to Evan!

ds said...

Not mushy--beautiful.
Happy Birthday, Evan!
Keep singing, Mom!

Daisy said...

Aw...happy birthday to your son, Betty. Our second was and is so different from his older brother too. This post made me both smile and tear up a little. Hugs to you.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Happy birthday, Evan. (PS Second children really are the best!)
xoRobyn

Madi and Mom said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVAN!!! ENJOY YOUR VERY SPECIAL DAY WITH YOUR VERY FINE PARENTS!! Tell all the colleges you visit they will be LUCKY to have you!!!

BB I did not get any pictures...maybe you sent them to my yahoo address which is my personal email for work. I'll check first thing in the morning.

9 working days remaining. As of April 1 my email address will be changed to my home address which I'll send to you,
Hugs and I do hope you are feeling much better
Madi and Mom

The Empress said...

Our oldest is 16...and I can't even think about him leaving.

The healthy attitude is "go fight win! Conquer the world."

The love sick mother attitude is "my baby, my baby..."

Joyful said...

How sweet and touching to read a mama's post. Happy Birthday to your darling boy ;-)

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

This is why I'm glad we just have the one kid. I never have to give up my best-parent-ever crown! Happy Birthday to your baby boy and may he always stay in his chair!

Moannie said...

Ah, memories! Happy birthday to your son. Mine is pushing 50 but I remember so well those late teenage years. How they fly by.

Tracy said...

Betty,
you are blessed, truly blessed, but you know Evan is very fortunate to have you as his parents because if he had gotten any other parents, his strengths may not have been directed in such a positive manner. You ALL are blessed.
Thank you for sharing such a heart felt post and Happy Birthday to him!

Munir said...

Happy Birthday Evan. Mom don't be sorry for the mush. Mush is Mom and wish put together.

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

LOVE this post, Betty. So, so sweet!

Sure hope he had a wonderful celebration!

floweringmama said...

Wow, what a fine looking young man! Happy birthday!

faye said...

Happy Birthday Evan !!

A sweet tribute that you hopefully
shared with Evan.

Sarah said...

Happy Birthday Evan! He may not show it, but he really loves all the mushness from his mamma.

Marlene said...

Happy birthday, Evan! What a sweet tribute to a son you're obviously very proud of!

Zuzana said...

What a beautiful tribute to your baby - happy birthday Evan!;)
My sister would enjoy this as she was the second child - and the last child as well.;))
Love the picture.;))
xoxo

Betty Manousos@ CUT AND DRY said...

Happy Belated Birthday Evan!

What a sweet tribute to your handsome son!

Happy Monday!
B xx

Green Monkey said...

this brought back many bitter sweet memories for me as well. HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVAN! and congratulations Betty ~ thats a handsome son you have there!~

xoxo

Cake Betch said...

Lol my parents had the exact OPPOSITE experience with me (the first born) and my sister (second born). My mom said she actually thought I was possessed at one time. I was a terrible monster brat of a child while my sister was sweet, quiet, well behaved, and shy. I can't believe they had three of us total after starting out with me :-)

Baby Sister said...

That was beautiful. Happy Birthday Evan!!

Pat Tillett said...

A great and thought provoking story Betty! Happy Birthday to Evan!
You are so right about the differences in personalities. Looking back at our 5, we are pretty sure that the last one pretty much raised herself! She did a great job of it...

Shan said...

Hoping it was the happiest of birthdays, Wvan!

Liz said...

Happy Birthday, Evan! And thanks for letting your mom share a little about you with us!

The Adorkable Ditz said...

Happy Birthday to Evan! That's cool, I'm finally older than someone haha. Sorry but I know exactly what you mean about the second child thing, I am the second (and youngest child). Although with my brother being the way he is I act like the older one a lot more often than the younger one.

Barbara Shallue said...

What a sweet post - happy birthday to Evan! Our second son came out screaming, too. And isn't it funny how you can think you know everything about parenting and then just one baby can bring you back to reality?

A Tale of Two Cities said...

It's tough letting our guys go, but there will be so many rewards once you see how well he thrives in his new environment. Enjoy the birthday celebration.

Pat said...

Wow. I got such a lump in my throat reading this! This was wonderful! Happy Belated Birthday Evan!

Auntie Bliss said...

I'm prematurely grieving over this very situation a year early. Don't let him go yet! I'll point my boy here and say, "see? everyone's NOT moving out!" and he'll stay and I'll
....have to do his laundry...OKAY...let him go :0